Black Bean Soup ala Jacques

by Millie Bentley

Greetings! One of my very favorites for when you need something healthy and good is Jacques Pepin’s black bean soup. I found this recipe in an old issue of Food and Wine. It was described as a “wildly popular” soup he served in one of his New York restaurants in the 70’s. I’ve made it numerous times and it is outstanding – best I’ve ever made – so thought I’d pass it on to you.
Black Bean Soup a la Jacques
1 pound dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
2 quarts water
6 cups chicken stock or low sodium broth
¾ pound red potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
2 cups chopped fresh or drained canned tomatoes
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped cilantro stems (save leaves for garnish)
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
Chopped onion
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
2 small bananas (yes, bananas), sliced
Cilantro leaves and small sprigs
Extra-virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
To make the soup:
Put the beans in a large pot, cover with cold water and let stand 1 hour. Drain the beans. Rinse the pot, add the beans, 2 quarts water, stock, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cilantro stems, thyme and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and the soup has thickened, about 2 ½ hours.
Transfer about 3 cups of soup to a food processor and puree until smooth. Return puree to pot. (Or use an immersion blender and whirl it in the pot for 10 seconds 2 or 3 times – depending on the strength of your immersion blender.) If the soup is too thick, thin it with a little water. Stir in the olive oil, garlic and vinegar; season with salt and Tabasco and bring to a boil just before serving.
Prepare the garnishes:
Put the onion in a colander and rinse under cold water; pat dry. Put the onions, eggs, bananas and cilantro in separate bowls. Set out the olive oil, vinegar and Tabasco. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with the garnishes.
Makes 6 servings and can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently. Yummm! Yummm! Yummm! A 3-yummer.
Until next week, dear Reader, vaya con Dios.